Category Archives: Career Advice

Avoiding Negative Thoughts

DbeRd“Garbage in, garbage out” became a common computing term after it appeared in a syndicated newspaper article in April 1963. It’s a pithy way to describe a truth about programming: What you put in a programdetermines what it will spit out. The same thing applies to our mind. The well-known speaker Zig Ziglar said that when it comes to what we put in our minds, it’s actually “garbage in, garbage stays in.” How true.

Whether it’s a colleague complaining, a hostile driver who honks his horn at us or a news report about a horrible act, negative events affect us. So do negative thoughts. Both have an impact on our mental well-being.

We can’t keep all the “garbage” away – that would give us a false sense of reality and could even be dangerous. Nor can we expect to never have negative thoughts, as many of them just pop up unexpectedly. But there are things we can do to counteract and reduce the garbage that can hurt our happiness. Here are three tactics I use that have been a grand blessing. I’m sure (unless you are using them already) they will help make a positive difference in your life too:

Cut back on the “news” you watch and read

You will probably never have your picture posted on several news sites or have your name called out as a leading news story across the country. Do you know why? It’s because you’re like most people – a decent person who isn’t going to commit a sensational crime. You wouldn’t think that was the case if you watch the nightly news or review a major news site. Most of the people featured have done (or are accused of doing) something nasty.

Of course, not all news sources are negative. Some are even helpful. But in general, as Rolf Dobelli writes in “The Art of Thinking Clearly” (a book I highly recommend), “News is to the mind what sugar is to the body: appetizing, easy to digest – and highly destructive to the mind.”

Look for the positive in other people and situations

For safety and health professionals, this suggestion can be tough to follow at times because part of our job is to suggest ways people can improve their behavior and notice what’s wrong. Still, that doesn’t prevent us from focusing on the positive things about what goes on around us. When your mind is focusing on the positive, there is less room for negative or depressing thoughts.

For example, I often go through airport security checkpoints. When I noticed I was getting more disturbedabout it, I started changing what I noticed and focused on the positive things about the experience, such as the variety of faces and colorful clothes. Of course, I would rather not go through a security checkpoint, but I don’t mind it anymore. In fact, during my last trip, I had a good laugh with the TSA agents about some of my unusual speaking props!

Practice being grateful

One book that helped me be more grateful, “The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse” by Gregg Easterbrook, is not a “happy” book. But it was an eye-opener, especially the parts that describe how much we have to be thankful for today. We’re blessed beyond measure. And now that I make it a point to regularly remind myself of the things I have to be grateful for (such as the privilege to share my ideas with you!), the garbage has a harder time getting in.

Source: Safety+Health Magazine

Congratulations, You Graduated! Now What?

Congratulations to the graduates of 2016! You’ve finally completed your studies and all that cramming – now it is on to the “real” world. As many of you are finding, it can often be much more challenging than school was, especially when it comes to finding a job.
graduate
Each year, Allied successfully places numerous recent grads in positions at many leading Lehigh Valley companies. These positions can be short term (1 day, 1 week, etc.) or they can be long term (1 month+). Both provide a great advantage to you.

Short-term jobs provide the flexibility to interview for jobs in your field or outside of the area without the commitment of a full-time job. Long-term positions allow you to expand on and build your skills, which in turn enhances your resume.
Additionally, you may find that the position you thought was just a way to make money until you secured your dream job is actually satisfying and provides a challenging opportunity for growth. 

Of course, you can’t overlook our temp to hire opportunities either. If you have a clear picture of your interests or career goals, we may be able to help you find a great opening. Companies often don’t post every job they have on their website; they rely on us to recruit for them. Working with a staffing company allows you access to the jobs you’d never find on your own, and can often be the best way to get into a full-time role at a top company.

Graduates often wait until August or September to contact us because they see a staffing company as a last resort. Instead, make Allied one of your first contacts, especially if you want to have an edge on the competition.

Why Apply With A Staffing Firm?

Allied scrabbleHave you ever experienced the frustration that comes with job searching? Sending out dozens of resumes, scouring the internet, going to interview after interview without ever getting a second call. It can be overwhelming and discouraging. Our recruiters meet many candidates who’ve had these experiences before hearing about the opportunities available through Allied. Working with a staffing firm can offer job seekers many benefits, especially when it comes to finding jobs that can’t be found elsewhere. Staffing firms have the unique advantage of offering opportunities job seekers would not be able to find on their own. Here are a few examples why a position might only be available through a staffing company.

  • Project Needs: Many of our customers contact us for project needs. They could have a permanent employee out on leave, or they have a large order they need extra help with. These can last anywhere from a few days to a few months. These positions can give candidates a great “foot in the door” opportunity. Consider it a working interview – if the position lasts longer or if a permanent job opens up, you’ve already proven you can do the job and are an asset to the company. If your situation allows, be open to project positions through a staffing firm. You never know where they could lead.
  • Lack of Resources: Some small companies contact Allied when their HR department doesn’t have the capacity to recruit the right candidates. Sometimes they are understaffedor don’t have the time needed to search for and interview candidates
  • Contracts: Larger companies often sign exclusive contracts for certain positions, meaning the only way to get these jobs with their company is through Allied. Openings won’t be posted on job sites or their website – all candidates must be submitted through the staffing company.
  • Leave it to the Experts: Staffing firms are staffing experts. Allied has trained and certified recruiters that can search for and interview candidates faster and more thoroughly than most HR departments can. Companies recognize this and utilize staffing firms to find great employees.
  • Marketing: Recruiters may present a resume to a company where they think the candidate would be a good fit, even if there is not an opening. Allied does this on a weekly basis. If we think you would be perfect for Company XYZ but don’t have an opening for them right now, we’ll still call them about you – with your permission. It’s surprising how often a company that is not hiring will make a position available based on our recommendation.
  • Confidential Searches: Companies running confidential searches keep their posting off the typical go-to sources. The job won’t be on CareerBuilder, Indeed or the company website. Often a company does this when they are replacing a current employee and they need to be discreet.

Job searching is a full-time job. It’s frustrating at times but with hard work and resourcefulness, you can succeed. Take advantage of every opportunity you can, including applying with a staffing firm. Allied Personnel Services offers job seekers some great advantages: resume and interview tips, foot-in-the-door opportunities and access to jobs you didn’t even know were out there!

Resume Mistakes To Avoid

resumeWhile technology and the internet have dramatically changed the way we search for jobs, one thing still remains constant: the resume. Even if you are conducting your job search entirely online, your resume is still a necessary component in the process. You may have updated it to include all of your career accomplishments, training,awards and certifications, but there are also several things you need to make sure that it doesn’t include.

• Leave overly personal information off your resume:  no social security numbers, marital status, family blogs, pictures, or information unrelated to your skills and work experience.

• References and salary requirements should not be included on your resume. If an employer requests this information, references should be presented on a separate page and salary requirements can be included in a cover letter.

• Limit the use of jargon or specific industry terms unless they are directly relevant to the position for which you are applying.

• Limit your use of bolding, italics and underlining – too much of these can clutter the content. Use a standard font like Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman and use that font consistently throughout all documents.

• Your resume should be free of all spelling and grammatical errors. Always have someone read your resume before sending it. Attention to detail can very easily put your resume on the top of the pile; failure to fix errors quickly moves you to the bottom.

• Present yourself accurately at all times. Never lie. Companies have the time and resources to verify your background information including education and employment history.

If you haven’t done it recently, ask a friend or colleague review your resume. Get their honest feedback and make improvements. You can also get constructive feedback on your resume from a staffing service. At Allied we always provide our candidates with tips and advice to help them improve their resumes and their chances of landing the job.

What’s Your Career Path?

One of the best things about what we do at Allied is helping our employees develop the skills and experience that they need in order to have successful, fulfilling careers.  Sometimes that means providing them with an opportunity that will lead to full-time hire by our client companies, and sometimes it means giving them a chance to learn new skills and grow into a new career.  It’s especially rewarding when our client companies recognize this unique aspect of temporary employment and share feedback with us on the growth of our employees.  We just heard great things about one of our employees–he is doing an excellent job on his assignment–but the best thing his supervisor had to say about him was this:

path_fork“Brian will be developing his technical and mechanical capabilities as well as logistical skills which will help him for future opportunities within the QA Technician career path.”

Helping our employees succeed over the long term is always our priority, and giving them the opportunities to be successful and progress down a strong career path is one of the best ways we can do that.  Temporary assignments can expose you to new companies, new skill sets, and new opportunities you may not have otherwise known existed.

Allied has worked with the best companies in the Lehigh Valley for over 31 years, and we can help you with both short-term (A job! Money!) and long-term (New skills! A career path!) career goals.  Visit our Allentown or Easton offices today to see how we can help you.

Making a Job Fair a Success

Attending a job fair can be an excellent way to get your job search started, or to re-energize a search that may feel stalled. It’s a great chance to get in front of many employers in a single day and see what companies are hiring. But in order to make the most of a job fair, it’s important to Job_Fair picbe prepared.

1) Research. Find out what companies will be there. Most job fairs include a list of employers in advertisements for the event. Visit the websites of those companies to check out current job openings. If there are opportunities you are interested in, take a minute to learn more about the company. Then when you speak with a recruiter at the job fair, you are able to talk about a specific opening or about their company’s business and really stand out from the crowd.

2) Prepare.  This is the one time you won’t be able to customize your resume. Since you will be presenting it to multiple employers for various opportunities, make your objective specific to the way you’d like your skills to be used and to the type of work environment you prefer. For this occasion, this is better than trying to specify a position or an industry.

3) Practice.  Do you have your 30-second commercial ready? This is one tool you absolutely must have ready for a job fair. Prepare it and practice it. A job fair is a great opportunity to end your commercial with a question; this will help you start a dialogue with the recruiter.
4) Attire.   Going to a job fair is a lot like going to a bunch of mini-interviews, so dress as you would for an interview. Often the setting for a job fair is casual, but don’t dress for the venue. Dress to make a great first impression.

5) Prioritize.  Rather than start at one end of the job fair and visit every single booth, determine your game plan before you arrive. Because you’ve done your research, you will know the employers you are most interested in visiting. Start with those. If the recruiters are tied up with a line of people waiting, it may be best to stop back. For some very popular employers, there may be no down time for the recruiters and waiting in line may be your only option.

6) Respect.   At a busy job fair, you need to be respectful of the recruiter’s time. If there are a large number of job seekers, you may not get a chance to do much more than introduce yourself and drop off your resume. Don’t monopolize a recruiter’s time with excessive explanations about your work history or with multiple questions about their openings. You want to be remembered but not as the person who talked excessively.

7) Follow-up.   Get business cards and contact information for the companies you are interested in and follow-up with them. A short, hand-written thank you note reconfirming your interest in the company or in a particular opening is a simple way to give a recruiter a reason to pull your resume out of the stack they have from the job fair.

Don’t be intimidated by long lines at job fairs or by the volume of resumes you see stacked on a recruiter’s table. If you play your cards right, you’ll be on the “first call back pile” and a new employment opportunity may find its way to you.

Myth Busters! Common Resume Misconceptions

 

  • “It’s okay not to include dates on my resume.”

MYTH! If dates are omitted, a red flag is raised to the person reviewing your resume. A recruiter will wonder what you might be hiding and may pass over your resume altogether.

  • “My resume can’t exceed one page.”

MYTH! Ideally, resumes should never exceed two pages in length. One page is fine if you can fit all of the needed information without crowding the layout. Anything over three pages can be excessive and may be disregarded by a potential employer.

  • “I can use the same resume for every job I apply to.”

MYTH! You need to look at the requirements of the position and your resume contents closely. While you don’t need a completely new resume for every application, sometimes you’ll want to tweak your resume to draw stronger attention to certain skills depending on the job. The best advice we can give is to customize it every time you send it.

What Is A “Business Casual” Dress Code?

Congratulations! You got the job! Your new boss tells you to dress “business casual” on your first day…and the confusion sets in. The phrase business casual has become difficult to define in recent years. Typically, business casual means a type of attire worn by business people that is less formal than a business suit. A simple enough definition, but with a struggling economy many people have been forced to change career paths or re-enter the workforce after many years out of work. Brushing up on business casual basics can help prepare you for your new job.

Why is this issue of what to wear or what not to wear so important? When you come to work each day, you are not only presenting yourself as a competent, professional, and reliable worker. You are also representing the company you work for. Understanding your company’s culture, or core values and image, is essential in knowing how to come to work dressed appropriately.

man with clipboard

DO: wear clothes that are tidy, clean, and conservative.

DON’T: Wear flip flops, jeans, or revealing attire (spaghetti straps, low pants, and plunging necklines).

Ladies, the following attire would be considered business casual:  a collared shirt, blouse or sweater, paired with dress slacks or a knee length skirt. Always wear knee highs with slacks and hose with skirts. Gentleman:  try a button down or polo paired with slacks or khaki pants. Business casual shoes should always be close toed.